Monday, December 27, 2010

Real World Effect of Religion's Moral Teachings

Religious people regularly claim that religion is necessary for moral instruction.  But, they never focus on what that religious moral instruction really entails or what its likely effect will be in the real world.

According to the statements made by religious people and their holy writings, religious people take their moral instructions from an abusive, murderous, sadistic, narcissistic psychopath.  This alone should be enough to give anyone pause when considering whether religion has any value as a basis for morality.  If the "book" of moral tales used for instruction includes one horror story of immoral behavior after another and the primary character in the book behaves worse than Ghengis Khan, then one can legitimately question the value of the alleged "morality" being taught.

So, what do the religious learn in these moral lessons?

They learn that they are essentially psychopaths and that whether or not they will be punished for doing something is all that matters. They learn that serving the ego of god is more important than taking care of other people, even family members.  They learn that the supposed source of all morality is a racist and a misogynist who murders children over minor insults or being born into the wrong ethnic group and that he has committed genocide before and intends to do it again on a grander scale.  They are trained to think that it is right and proper to think and behave in a capricious, vindictive, violent, and unjust manner.  

They are taught to think that what makes god arbiter of right and wrong is his supremacy, not his goodness.  They are taught, in short, that might makes right.  And, they learn that lesson very well.

This is hardly a good basis for morality.   Especially when religions, in fact, turn out to be little more than clubs in which the members help each other and protect each other, which includes helping each other get away with doing bad things.  They call this "sticking together".  Continued membership in one's church requires loyalty to the church first and foremost.  This means that, in practice, these allegedly moral people will commit perjury, obstruct and pervert justice, and worse in order to protect each other.

If church members protect each other from the consequences of their illegal and immoral behavior (which they do), then the threat of punishment is removed for all practical purposes.  (I have already discussed the purely illusory nature of the threat of divine punishment.)  To a person taught that all morality is based on a threat of punishment, this can only mean that anything is moral, so long as the leaders of the church don't get mad at you for doing it.

Because their moral and political philosophy is based on authoritarianism, once they are in positions of authority, all the internal brakes are off--if any ever existed in the first place.  Having become the "authority", they see themselves as being almost godlike in terms of absolute power over those within their purview.  They literally feel that they answer to no one for what they do in such circumstances.  Their oft repeated claim that they are psychopaths who are controlled only by fear of god's punishment is proven true.

Many churches follow the bible in taking it as a given that all governments derive their powers from god--not the people as modern political philosophy holds.  This, of course, means that they are acting on behalf of a "higher" authority when they defy and break the law to aid and protect each other. That's the way they see it, even if they live in a country like the U.S. which explicitly does not base its government on such notions but on the notion that political power comes from the people.

Consequently, the real world effect of religion moral training is to train religious people to behave as if they have no morals at all and only have a duty to protect other members of their church and to advance the interests of that church. 

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